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Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

by Walt Whitman

Section 10 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 52-55

I loved well those cities,
I loved well the stately and rapid river,
The men and women I saw were all near to me,
Others the same—others who look back on me, because I looked forward to them,

  • There are some strange things going on with verb tenses in this poem. Now the speaker is talking about himself as if he were in the future with us.
  • He is, in essence, delivering his own eulogy.
  • He felt close to all the people he saw, and even to us future generations.

Line 56

(The time will come, though I stop here to-day and to-night.)

  • Here's a very mysterious line. "The time" for what will come?
  • He seems to be anticipating some time when he will be close to those future people, and the present moment is just a stopping place. In short, time is no obstacle to the speaker; he just chooses to be in the present.

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